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Orangewood Academy adds to trophy collection
CYPRESS – Another first was accomplished by Orangewood Academy's athletic program.
One year after the girls basketball team won the first ever CIF-SS title in the history of the school, it is time to make room for another trophy at the school.
The third-seeded Spartans defeated top-seeded St. Monica Academy of Pasadena, 25-14, 15-25, 25-18, 22-25, 15-12, in the CIF-SS Division 5A final at Cypress College for the school's first girls volleyball title.
This was the first finals appearance for Orangewood Academy.
"This is huge," third-year coach Terry Lendeen said. "In volleyball, we had never gone past the second round. We're a small school, there's no doubt, but the fact that we were able to stick together in that fifth game ... this means everything. This is the greatest feeling I've had in my life."
Orangewood Academy epitomizes "small school." There are just 98 students in the high school.
"The last couple of years have been a little tough," Lendeen said. "We've been increasing our wins and we've believed in ourselves and jelled as a team.
"The school hasn't had a (volleyball) coach for more than a year the last the seven years. This is my third year and that continuity and the closeness, the fact that they know each other, they know how each other play and the fact that two-thirds of the girls played on the championship basketball team, really gave them a little bit of toughness, and our school isn't known for toughness."
Six of the Spartans' players were on the CIF winning basketball team (sisters Stephany and Jannet Olvera, sisters Braden and Bryce Tupa'i, Janet Sosa and Elaine Rivero).
Senior outside hitter Celeste Rivero has been a key figure for the Spartans this season.
"To be part of this is amazing," Rivero said. "This is my senior year and I never would have expected to be here."
Rivero had 18 kills for the Spartans. Elaine Rivero had 10.
The teams alternated victories through the first four sets. In the fifth, with the score tied at 6-6, the Spartans scored four consecutive points to take control of the set.